Fun topic, although a very subjective one. Not the "86 team, not even close" conclusion that some would have us believe.
Some here confuse "best Giants team" with best Giants season, in my view. Understandable, since it can be argued that each season produces a unique team, but that's just one way to look at the question.
When the subject of the Niners of the 80s, for example, or the Steelers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Raiders of the 70s, is raised, it inevitably is discussed in terms of a team's general dominance during a sequence of several seasons, not just 1 season. I mean, do we really hear arguments about "the 81 Niners were their best team, not the 89 Niners"? No. Nearly every discussion concerning the Niners dominant years involve useage of "the Walsh Niners" or the Montana Niners". It is a legitimate way to approach this thread's title question, as well.
In that context, there is a compelling argument to be made for the Giants teams of the late 50s, early 60s as the "best Giants team".
During an 8 year stretch of 1956-63, Giants played in 6 Championship games. They won only 1 of those, true, but how many teams in the history of the league can boast that consistency over that many years? It is an elite club, to be sure.
With at least 5 HOF players on some of, if not all 6 of, the Giants teams in that stretch (Gifford, Huff, Rosey Brown, YA, Robustelli), plus the likes of Alex Webster, Charlie Conerly, Grier, Rote, Morrison, and with Landry-Lombardi doing the actual coaching of the first 2-3 championship teams, I submit there's a strong case to be made for that time frame as the "best Giants team, all time"
If you want to restrict the debate to only the Super Bowl era, then sure, we are restricted to a much narrower time frame of a single season here and there.
And even in that context there are different qualifiers in each of our Super Bowl-winning seasons that make this a very subjective argument---
86 team was arguably the most dominant team that year. However, even in the comparison of 86 to 90, it could be argued the 90 team was a better team overall, since 2 crucial players (Jumbo Elliott and Carl Banks) missed 8 and 7 games, respectively, due to injuries, and Simms missed the last 2 and a half games of the reg season and all the post season. We won the last 2 reg season games, 2 post season games and the Super Bowl with a professional back up QB, who was an average QB at best.
That could not have been accomplished unless the team was very, very good.
So, while there is no question the 86 Giants finished the second half of the regular season by steam-rolling through the competition with 10-11 consecutive wins, and they crushed their opponents throughout the post season culminating in a dominant second half of their Super Bowl victory, I'd say what the players and coaches achieved on the 90 team (they were absolutely dominant the first 10 games of that season, remember) after Simms went down for the season in Game 14, was even more impressive--defeating a very dominant Niners team intent on being the first (only) team to win 3 consecutive SBs, in the NFC Championship game, and defeating the most explosive team in NFL history up to that point, in the Super Bowl.
(Anyone who claims they actually believed the Giants hopes for a second SB trophy were not completely crushed when Simms broke his leg in that Dec '90 Buffalo game...is not being honest)
'86, '90, '07, '11 in that order.
If I had to guess I would say that you are to young to have witnessed the Parcells era. If you saw that defense you would never make the argument that the QB is the deciding factor of which team is the best.
The 86 team might of been the best, but I'll tell you what, the last team they would of wanted to see in the superbowl would be one of these recent Giants teams.
No sir the team with the best qb is the best team in history of the team if you won the sb.. i'd say the pats best years were with brady.. our best years with eli.. packers best years with rodgers.. colts best years with peyton.. broncos best years with elway (or maybe peyton now if they win sb) and ravens best years with flacco if they win the big one.. i can go on n on.
So a team that dominates all of football going 14-2 and winning the SB like 1986, is not as good as the team that went 9-7 and won the SB like 2011, solely because Eli is better than Simms?? Is that what you are saying??
Wow just wow!